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Cheltenham Festival fancy Faugheen is 'an aeroplane' says Patrick Mullins

Patrick Mullins has labelled Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle favourite Faugheen "an aeroplane" as the countdown to this year's Cheltenham Festival continues.

The six-year-old comfortably landed a point-to-point win in Ireland before Mullins was on board for his spectacular debut under rules, when romping to a 22-length success in a 22-runner Punchestown bumper on decent ground.

Adding to the aura of that display is the fact that distant runner-up Josses Hill is now rated a leading contender for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle after landing an Ascot bumper and a 22-runner Newbury maiden hurdle for Nicky Henderson before going down narrowly to stablemate Royal Boy in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Kempton.

"I only got to ride Faugheen the once but he felt like an aeroplane that day and he's done nothing to say he's not ever since," declared Mullins. "The horse that was second behind him at Punchestown, some 22 lengths back, was Josses Hill, who is one of the favourites for the Supreme, so it was an extraordinary performance."

Ruby Walsh was in the saddle when Faugheen was put over hurdles for the first time at Punchestown in November, when he brushed aside a decent yardstick in Chute Hall without having to be extended.

That was over 2m 6f but he dropped back down to two and a half miles when easily accounting for Empire Of Dirt and he was again a decisive scorer from The Job Is Right over three miles in a Grade 3 contest at Limerick last time, despite being far from fluent at several obstacles.

Patrick's brother Emmett was in the saddle that day but the former said: "I thought it was an awesome performance, considering he didn´t jump too well and to win like he did."

Trainer Willie Mullins looks set to opt for the 2m 5f Neptune won by Simonsig and The New One at the last two Festivals and the County Carlow handler has had past success in this race himself, sending over Fiveforthree in 2008 and Mikael d'Haguenet the following year.


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Cheltenham Festival fancy Faugheen is 'an aeroplane' says Patrick Mullins

Patrick Mullins has labelled Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle favourite Faugheen "an aeroplane" as the countdown to this year's Cheltenham Festival continues.

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